Green belts should be considered for housing – RTPI

England’s green belts should be made available for housebuilding to ease the housing crisis, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) announced today.

UK’s leading planning body suggested greenfields should be considered alongside brownfields for development and warned the Government’s “brownfield first” approach could fail if adequate funding and infrastructure weren’t provided.

RTPI consulted its England and Wales members and concluded in a policy statement that greenfield sites could work for housebuilding only after careful reviews of wider areas, without prejudice to brownfield redevelopment and by ensuring housing is delivered in a sustainable, affordable and timely manner.

Phil Williams, RTPI President, said:

“This is not a crude green light that says ‘build on the Green Belt’, but we need a new approach to enable greenfield sites and green belt sites to be regarded more positively by local authorities, politicians and communities.

“As a society we need to look at the countryside and green belts beyond their recreational and aesthetic appeal, and assess how they can help to shape urban change in the most equitable way.”

Williams added:

“’Brownfield first’ can only work with accompanying public investment. Without Government help in de-risking and making ready brownfield sites with upfront infrastructure, many sites will never come on stream.

“If the planning system and planners are allowed to work properly to ensure all developments, be they on brownfield, greenfield, green belt and intensified urban centres, are in the right place in the right scale with the right infrastructure, we stand a better chance in solving the housing crisis.”